Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a medical doctor from Union County was sentenced to state prison today for illegally distributing the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone. He was arrested in January on charges he conspired with a drug dealer and others to distribute thousands of high-dose oxycodone pills by writing false prescriptions for individuals he never treated or examined.
Dr. Eugene Evans Jr., 56, of Roselle Park, N.J., was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Ronald Lee Reisner in Monmouth County. He pleaded guilty on April 24 to second-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He has surrendered his license to practice medicine.
On June 12, the drug dealer who conspired with Evans, David Roth, 44, of Marlboro Township, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of narcotics. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Roth be sentenced to seven years in state prison. Roth admitted that he illegally distributed oxycodone pills obtained using false prescriptions that were written by Evans. Roth is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 28.
Deputy Attorney General Anthony P. Torntore prosecuted the defendants and handled today’s sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice. Roth and Evans were charged in an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a newly formed team of detectives and attorneys in the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals and “pill mills.” The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is made up of special agents of the DEA, task force officers from local police departments, and diversion investigators.
“By diverting highly addictive oxycodone pills into the black market, this doctor chose to enrich himself at the expense of the many individuals whose lives are being ruined – and in many cases taken – by the epidemic of opiate abuse in New Jersey,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “He callously made himself part of the problem, instead of living up to his professional oath to heal, not harm people.”
“Because of the work of our new Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, this corrupt doctor will go to prison,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to join forces with our law enforcement partners to target profiteers in the healthcare professions who divert prescription narcotics for illicit distribution.”
Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division said, “This doctor is now paying a steep price for disregarding the oath he took to help people. He will now have the next five years to think about those choices.”
The investigation revealed that Evans supplied Roth with prescriptions for thousands of 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone. Evans wrote the prescriptions in the names of individuals he never examined, treated or even met. The names and birth dates of the patients were supplied to Evans by Roth, who recruited persons willing to have prescriptions issued in their names. Evans wrote multiple prescriptions at a time for each of the purported patients. Once Roth had a prescription, he went to a pharmacy with the person named in the prescription to fill it. Roth paid Evans for writing the prescriptions, and he also paid the individuals he recruited as purported patients, either in cash, prescription narcotics, or both. Roth illegally distributed the pills, typically selling each 30 milligram oxycodone tablet for $20 or $30.
A third defendant, Harold Nyhus, 53, of Freehold, pleaded guilty on April 24 to a charge of third-degree obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. He admitted that he filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone at a pharmacy that Evans issued in his name and a second person’s name. The state will recommend that Nyhus be sentenced to three years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2.
The investigation, which included a review of records in the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, determined that between January 2012 and March 2014, Evans allegedly issued fraudulent prescriptions in the names of over a dozen individuals for more than 20,000 high-dose 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman commended the DEA New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad. He commended the Marlboro Township Police Department for its important role, which included establishing the initial leads in the investigation, and he thanked the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau for assisting in the investigation and securing the voluntary surrender of Evans’ medical license through the Board of Medical Examiners.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman also thanked the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance, which was critical to the success of the investigation: Howell Township Police Department, Freehold Borough Police Department, Keansburg Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Veterans Affairs Police (Canandaigua, N.Y.), and Roselle Park Police Department.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report crimes. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice Web page atwww.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the tip line or webpage will remain confidential.